Lunch is served to PECMH staff thanks to the Vic and Re/Max Quinte

LUNCH IS SERVED Tim and Judy McKinney with their three children (gathered at right) stand with frontline workers at PECMH. Rick and Sonya Szabo, owners of the Vic Café are at left.(Submitted photo.)




Nobody envies a hospital worker in a pandemic. Especially when doctors, nurses and other frontline staff members are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and are caring for the community’s most vulnerable people. As a way to say thank you, a local realtor and restaurant banded together to offer one bit of solace: a good meal.

Last Wednesday, the staff at PECMH welcomed the meals with open arms while, of course, keeping their distance. Though you couldn’t quite see the reactions behind the face masks, staff at PECMH were overjoyed to receive a hamburger lunch. 

The lunch, from The Vic Café, was provided courtesy of RE/MAX Quinte Broker Tim McKinney, his wife Judy and his real estate team.

“It was a privilege to be able to offer some form of comfort to those who’ve been working non-stop to help keep this pandemic at bay,” said McKinney. “Restaurants may not count as an essential service in the face of COVID-19, but a warm, well-made meal can at least show overworked hospital workers they’re appreciated.”

Forty-five lunches were catered by Rick and Sonya Szabo, owners of Picton’s The Vic Café. Known for creating a ‘Fresh-meets-Fun’ atmosphere at the Café, the couple jumped at the opportunity to provide lunch to the staff at our County hospital.

“Today’s delivery reminds us how essential food and hospitality services are to everyone and the way a good meal can brighten someone’s day,” Sonya Szabo said. “In times like this, everyone needs to do what they can to help. This hospital is always here for us, whether it’s 5 a.m. or 11 p.m. Whenever an emergency arises, PECMH is always here.”

While fundraising has helped PECMH acquire much-needed medical equipment and supplies in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis, food donations have also played a vital role in keeping health care workers and support staff properly fuelled for the long days and nights on the front lines of the pandemic.

“We see ourselves as the supporting team for the frontline staff,” said McKinney. “Hopefully this meal gives the health care staff the fuel and energy they need to get through the day. This meal is a small reminder to the staff at PECMH that they’re not alone.”

Last month, the Foundation launched its COVID-19 Relief Fund, which so far as taken in over $162,000 in donations. The Foundation has already put those gifts to work purchasing new equipment and supplies for PECMH and will help Quinte Health Care cover some of the costs at the other hospitals across the Quinte region.

“Without donations from the community important equipment would not be put into the hands of our healthcare professionals as quickly as it has,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “

But along with the equipment and supplies the Foundation has been able to purchase, a host of donations including face shields, masks, gloves and food donations from individuals and local businesses and restaurants have helped boost spirits and nourish our frontline workers.

“Today’s lunch is a bit of respite in our staff’s busy day,” Coull said. “Staff feel directly appreciated by the community with the outpouring of support they have received.”

Coull highlighted that no matter if the donation is food, PPE supplies or funds for the purchase of medical equipment, all donations are critical right now.

“All of the donations are making a difference,” said Coull. “And this kind of community support, like we have seen from Tim McKinney and Rick and Sonya on behalf of The Vic Café is what’s going to get us through this.”